top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureinToit Reviews

The Hidizs DH80S DAC/Amp: a portable competitor

Hello there everyone, and welcome back to The Neighborhood. Today we’re looking an DAC/Amplifier from Hidizs: the DH80S. Let’s get intoit!



So Hidizs DH80S is an DAC/Amplifier that for all intensive purposes is meant to be used with your phone or with a computer as a standalone external device. It utilizes a ESS9281C Pro DAC Chip and Dual RT6863 C Op Amps. Its capable of DSD 128, 32Bit/384Khz PCM, and has MQA Support. It provides 3 gain stages and both a 3.5mm single-ended output and a 4.4mm balanced output. There’s a built-in independent battery, and separate USB Type-C connections for charging and data transmission. The chassis is mostly metal with a soft-touch piece of leather on one side. The lines of its Aluminum Alloy CNC’d body are rather angular, and while I like the look of this thing, and it has a nice heft and solid feel to it, its also a bit sharp here or there, and I wouldn’t want to put this in my pocket with my cell phone or anything else that might get scratched up by its design. I also like that it comes in variety of colors to match one’s preferences, and Hidizs sent me the gold version, which matches the colorway of reference DAC: the Gold Note DS-10 Plus. But returning back to the DH80S, there’s also a volume control, but while they claim that this is an independent volume control, it really isn’t, as this thing is only capable of adjusting digital volume off your device as things stand at this time. There are physical buttons, but they are tied to tethered ot the digital volume rather than being independent of it. Additionally, while MQA worked fine with Tidal in exclusive mode, I had issues with play PCM back in exclusive mode. In exclusive mode, there were clicks and pops with normal PCM playback- but only when exclusive mode was utilized. Yet, if exclusive mode was not engaged, then playback was click-and-pop-free, but in this instance, only PCM was output. So, DSD or MQA could not be utilized outside of exclusive mode. In other words, I had to choose between exclusive mode with DSD and MQA playback or non-exclusive mode with only PCM output. But since it sounded good either way, I mostly used it in non-exclusive mode in the course of my testing to avoid the annoyance of pops and clicks. I asked Hidizs if there might be an update to fix both issues with the lack of independent volume control and presence of exclusive mode click-and-pops, and they reported that there are no plans to do so at this time. Since they advertise this device as being able to utilize multiple codecs and independent volume, I hope that they change their mind in the future, as I’m sure most of this could be remedied with a simple firmware update. Furthermore, during the review process, Hidizs also suggested to me that the DH80S could be used as a standalone DAC via its single-ended and balanced outputs, but in my testing, it was too noisy, even on low-gain to be used solely as a DAC- producing hum and noise on every amplifier that I tried to do this with. I also could not get the Hidizs DH80S to work with microphone inputs, so if you want to take a phone call with it plugged into your phone, its not going to allow you to be heard well by those on the other end of the line.



So, there’s both good, and bad aspects about this device’s build and performance, but what about the sound overall? Well, I spoke briefly about the sound in my video on the Harmonic Dyne Athena, and if you haven’t checked out that video, I suggest that you do so. I talk about the specific outcome with the Athena there, so I’ll put a link in the top corner so it’s easy for you to access it if you’re interested in that particular pairing. But in general, the sound here with the DH80S is really good! Mostly this is a reference sound that is characteristically neutral and excels in the clarity department. But perhaps its greatest attribute to its sound has to do with its stage. The stage is big, has a vast quality to it, and separation is really good. Vocals are well isolated on an island in the middle of the mix, slightly forward in their step, and have good presence levels overall. Dynamics are also very good- neither going overboard nor being insufficient. If I had any criticism of the sound here, it would be that it’s on the leaner side, and might be perceived as being a bit too thin for some, but I’d prefer this presentation



Although maximum power output of the DH80S is only listed at 210mW per channel on its balanced output, I had no problem driving some pretty difficult to drive planars through its 4.4mm jack- like my Mk2 Argons. I also didn’t hate its performance with high impedance headphones such as the Audio-Technica R70x or the Beyerdynamic DT880 Special Edition; which are 470 and 600 Ohm respectively. It controlled the driver much better with the 300 Ohm Sennheiser 8XX, so I wouldn’t really recommend using it with a headphone beyond 300 Ohms on a consistent basis, but, in a pinch, it won’t be intolerable with cans that have a higher load.



In other words, it’s a pretty versatile and surprisingly powerful device despite its small footprint and low price. At a price around $100 dollars there’s not really that much that competes with it. The Centrance DACport HD and Tachjim Space are probably its biggest competition. Compared to the DACport HD, both are relatively neutral but note weight in the DACport HD is a little more substantial, but the stage is not nearly as expansive. The DACPort HD is also has independent volume control and a lot more juice under the hood, but does not have an internal battery or balanced output.



Compared to the Tanchjim Space, the Space is about a quarter of the of the size of DH80S, but also doesn’t have a built-in battery, and only has two gain stages rather than three. I suspect that it because of the DH80S’ gain and battery that this is why the DH80S appears to have better dynamics and more power than the Space does. Brilliance regions are a bit more accentuated in the Space, and the overall tonality of the Space is slightly drier, while the DH80S comes across a bit glassier in comparison. But again, the stage is the defining characteristic and reason to pick up the DH80S over the Space or the DACportHD, as it is larger in its auditory size and scope, and has enhanced depth compared to both the Centrance and the Tanchjim.



So, the Hidizs DH80S is not a perfectly functional device, but it does sound rather good. It has some quirks, but if you can put up with them, you might want to consider it- especially if you are after a relatively neutral presentation with a large stage and excellent dynamics at an affordable price. Hopefully Hidizs will deliver on its marketing promise to provide truly independent volume and fix the pop-and-click issue that I referenced earlier with a future firmware update. The Hidizs DH80S will certainly be hard to beat if they do.



Thanks for watching inToit Reviews! Don't forget to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to help the channel grow! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDhV3KByLSY2roqZ2aQ0XKg







Product Links- Order links for DH80S: US Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B095R8RS6F?r...




44 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Kommentare


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page